EPL Week 19: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert EPL Picks

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIDecember 26, 2012

EPL Week 19: Bleacher Report Writers Make Their Expert EPL Picks

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    Despite just completing another weekend of action, the English Premier League is back for some further mid-week Christmas festive action for us all.

    The week marks the halfway mark of the 38-game season—giving teams a great chance to assess how their opening six months has been and how they can improve throughout the remainder of the season to better their current situation.

    The week also marks the halfway mark for the Bleacher Report writers' tipping competition, who are once again back to predict the results for this week's matches. Read on to see who we think will and won't be in the winners circle this week.

Leaderboard and Explanation

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    For those not familiar with the way this works, each writer has to pick a team and a score for every match in the Premier League that week.

    A correct pick (e.g. Chelsea win) will earn them one point, and a correct score (e.g. Chelsea win 3-0) sees them earn three points.

    Our writers will also try and predict the highest-scoring game of the weekend (the game that produces the most goals). Should there be two or three games that have the same highest total, then we will give out points to whomever picked any of those games. A correct pick will earn them five points.

    Let's take a look at our Bleacher Report experts and how their predictions have held up through the opening weeks of the competition. 

    Mohamed Al-Hendy

    World Football Featured Columnist 139 points

    Dan Talintyre

    World Football Featured Columnist 135 points
    Joe Tansey
    EPL Featured Columnist 130 points

    Mike Cummings

    World Football Lead Writer 122 points
    Karl Matchett
    World Football Featured Columnist 118 points
    Sam Tighe
    World Football Featured Columnist 113 points

    Will Tidey

    World Football Editor and Lead Writer  99 points

Everton vs. Wigan Athletic

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Buoyed by their come-from-behind victory last week over West Ham, Everton will look to extend their winning streak this week when they take on Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park.

    The Toffees are undefeated through their last six matches and will no doubt feel good about their chances of extending that number to seven given the fact that their opponents—Wigan Athletic—haven't won in their past five league matches.

    Wigan looked strong last week against Arsenal, with just a controversial penalty separating the two teams on the night. However, as has been so common with the Lactics this year, their strong performances are yet to yield any real reward or competition points, and they find themselves now in the relegation zone because of it.

    Can Wigan move out of the bottom three this week, or will it be the Toffees' push for a top-four spot that wins out on the night?

    Dan Talintyre Everton win 2-1
    Joe Tansey Everton win 2-1
    Karl Matchett Everton win 2-0
    Mike Cummings Everton win 2-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Everton win 3-1
    Sam Tighe Everton win 2-0
    Will Tidey Draw, 1-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Fulham vs. Southampton

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Coming off an embarrassing defeat last week to Liverpool, Fullham will be back home this week at Craven Cottage as they seek to get back in the winners circle once again.

    The Cottagers have only won one of their past eight matches in the Premier League, with varied performances throughout that time. They have gone from nearly beating Arsenal at the Emirates to being flogged and outclassed by Liverpool at Anfield last week.

    Fulham's opponent this week also came off a hard loss last week, with Southampton going down 1-0 at home to Sunderland, whom they really should have played better against.

    They too will be desperate for a better performance this week, especially with the added pressure of being on the border of the relegation zone now.

    Dan Talintyre Fulham win 2-0
    Joe Tansey Southampton win 2-1
    Karl Matchett Fulham win 2-1
    Mike Cummings Fulham win 3-2
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Fulham win 2-1
    Sam Tighe Southampton win 2-1
    Will Tidey Fulham win 3-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Manchester United vs. Newcastle United

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Manchester United's winning streak might have come to an end last week with a 1-1 draw against Swansea City, but the Red Devils still sit four points clear of second-place Manchester City heading into the halfway point of the 2012/13 season.

    Sir Alex Ferguson's men will take on Newcastle United at Old Trafford this week as they look to bounce back with a renewed performance in front of their home fans.

    The Magpies have been inconsistent and generally poor this season—nowhere near the devastating form they showed last year—and are lagging in 14th position because of it.

    They were easily beaten 3-0 when they played United earlier in the year, and now, away from home with a growing injury list, could be in for another long night at the Theater of Dreams.

    Having said that, when Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse get hot, there's really no telling just what this side is capable of, and they can't be discounted in this one either.

    Dan Talintyre Manchester United win 4-1*
    Joe Tansey Manchester United win 4-2*
    Karl Matchett Manchester United win 2-0
    Mike Cummings Manchester United win 4-2*
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester United win 3-0
    Sam Tighe Manchester United win 3-1*
    Will Tidey Manchester United win 4-1*

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Norwich City vs. Chelsea

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Eight goals.

    That's the damage that Chelsea did last week at home to Aston Villa. So what will the Blues rack up this week against Norwich City at Carrow Road?

    The Canaries were beaten last time around by West Bromwich Albion—bringing to an end their incredible streak of 11 matches without a loss—and at home, they'll be looking to bounce back well with a strong performance against the West London club.

    And whilst Chelsea did slam eight goals past Villa last week, we must also consider that they have had their inconsistencies this season and have been a significantly worse attacking team when playing away from Stamford Bridge.

    Norwich, on the other hand, have only lost one match at home all season and have won five in a row at Carrow Road, including matches against Arsenal, Manchester United and Stoke City.

    Could there be another upset on the cards this week for the Canaries?

    Dan Talintyre Draw, 1-1
    Joe Tansey Norwich win 1-0
    Karl Matchett Chelsea win 1-0
    Mike Cummings Chelsea win 2-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Chelsea win 3-1
    Sam Tighe Chelsea win 2-1
    Will Tidey Chelsea win 3-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Queens Park Rangers vs. West Bromwich Albion

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Queens Park Rangers' time in the winners circle didn't last long this year, with the London club back in the red with a defeat away from home to Newcastle United.

    Harry Redknapp's men still sit above the bottom of the ladder—albeit thanks to a seven-game losing streak from Reading—but know that if they have any chance to avoid relegation, they need to start picking up points from their home matches this year.

    They have a great chance to do that this week, given the fact they're at home, but they'll need to get through West Bromwich Albion first, who ended their four-game skid with a strong win last week against a streaking Norwich City side.

    The Baggies have been a revelation so far this year and will know that if they are to continue their strong season, they need to win matches like this one. Will Steve Clarke's men get the job done as they should, or will Harry Redknapp's side pick up their second win of the season?

    Dan Talintyre West Brom win 1-0
    Joe Tansey QPR win 2-1
    Karl Matchett QPR win 2-1
    Mike Cummings Draw, 1-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 2-2
    Sam Tighe Draw, 1-1
    Will Tidey QPR win 1-0

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Reading vs. Swansea City

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    It's starting to get desperate for Reading now, who currently sit last in the English Premier League with just nine points from their opening 18 matches.

    The Royals have lost seven matches in a row and must face a Swansea City side that held Manchester United to a draw last week and have won matches away from home against Newcastle United and Arsenal already this season.

    Michu continues to dominate for the Swans this year, whilst Reading simply do not appear to have an answer or go-to player in attack capable of sparking anything significant. Can they hang on for a draw or a shock win here, or will Swansea build on their strong result last week with all three points this week?

    Dan Talintyre Swansea win 3-1
    Joe Tansey Reading win 3-2
    Karl Matchett Reading win 1-0
    Mike Cummings Swansea win 2-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Swansea win 2-1
    Sam Tighe Swansea win 2-1
    Will Tidey Swansea win 2-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Sunderland vs. Manchester City

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Both Sunderland and Manchester City recorded 1-0 victories last week, although neither will be completely satisfied with their respective performances.

    City took until the final minute to beat lowly Reading, despite playing at the Etihad Stadium, whilst Sunderland blew some great goal-scoring chances during their win against Southampton while playing away at St. Mary's Stadium.

    The Black Cats will be back at the Stadium of Light this week, a venue that's typically been difficult for Premier League teams to consistently get points at.

    The Citizens might have closed the gap on Manchester United at the top of the table last week, but could lose that distance once more with a poor performance here.

    Will City continue to heap pressure on their cross-town rivals, or will Martin O'Neill's men build on their good result from last week?

    Dan Talintyre Draw, 1-1
    Joe Tansey Manchester City win 3-1
    Karl Matchett Draw, 1-1
    Mike Cummings Manchester City win 2-0
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Manchester City win 3-1
    Sam Tighe Manchester City win 3-1
    Will Tidey Manchester City win 3-0

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ET

    Aston Villa will be very quickly looking to erase the embarrassment of last week when they take on Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park this week.

    They were demolished by a rampant Chelsea 8-0, bringing them down quickly from their high of beating Liverpool at Anfield the week before. Their opponents, Tottenham, make it a third tough team in a row for the Villans to get past in the Premier League.

    Tottenham were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Stoke City last week and will be keen to get back into the goals this time around. The North London club are in the mix for a top-four spot this season and have been strong throughout midfield to date—something they'll have a great chance of succeeding at again this week having seen how the Blues opened up Villa over the weekend.

    Dan Talintyre Tottenham win 3-1
    Joe Tansey Tottenham win 1-0
    Karl Matchett Draw, 2-2*
    Mike Cummings Tottenham win 2-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Tottenham win 5-1*
    Sam Tighe Aston Villa win 1-0
    Will Tidey Aston Villa win 2-0

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.

Stoke City vs. Liverpool

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    Wednesday, 26th December, 2012 at 2:45 p.m. ET

    The Premier League action wraps up during the week with Liverpool making the incredibly difficult journey to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City.

    The Reds might have secured a big win against Fulham last week, but away to the Potters is quickly becoming one of the most difficult fixtures on the Premier League schedule, though the Potters have offered little in defense or attack this year.

    Tony Pulis' men have scored and conceded the fewest league goals this season, and haven't been beaten at home through the year to date. They've allowed just three goals from their eight home matches—stopping the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Everton already this year.

    Will the Merseyside men be the next Britannia victims for Stoke City, or will Brendan Rodgers' side finally break the Potters at home this season?

    Dan Talintyre Stoke win 2-1
    Joe Tansey Draw, 0-0
    Karl Matchett Draw, 1-1
    Mike Cummings Draw, 1-1
    Mohamed Al-Hendy Draw, 0-0
    Sam Tighe Draw, 0-0
    Will Tidey Draw, 1-1

    * denotes highest scoring game of the week.